Three (More) Ways to Cook Better

After explaining how to scramble eggs, get a sear on a cut of meat and bake fish, I realized there are lots of techniques in the kitchen that aren't as easy as they sound - or they're even easier. Still, there's a whole country full of guys who grind out workouts and hit the dollar menu on the way back from the gym. We can do better, fellas.

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I guess it should be said, I'm not a chef or a bodybuilder or anything more than a dude who lifts weights, has a job that allows for interview time with top athletic trainers, and wants to enjoy food without going too far off the rails. So take these tips for what they are. Awesome, do-it-yourself real world food advice.

Anyway, here's three (more) ways to cook better:

Make Fried Rice
One summer, I spent a few months living with a couple of Chinese exchange students. They taught me how to make my own fried rice. It's as delicious and satisfying as it sounds, and not necessarily the worst thing you can put together. It's definitely better than ordering in. Do you have any idea why the rice is that color? It's because each grain soaks up oil. This option is good for a day when you want to cheat but aren't going to go all out. Or after a tough lift.

Grab some leftover brown rice, some scallions, and a source of protein. I like to use leftover baked chicken breast, frozen shrimp, or some lean beef. I also tend to throw some mushrooms in there.

Get a little oil hot in a wok (you'll need a real one, not a skillet) and add some chopped garlic and about half a large chopped onion. Once the onion gets translucent, make a hole in the center of the pan. Beat no more than two eggs well, and dump them in. Season with salt and pepper, and don't let them cook very long. Once they just start firming up, push the onions and garlic towards the middle and mix everything together, making small pieces of egg and scrambling as you go. Usually, then I'll add the mushrooms, let that cook a little, and after add in my protein and rice. Then, I season: usually a mix of curry powder, five-spice, and ground mustard (in addition to kosher salt, pepper, onion powder and chili flakes). After that, splash on some sesame oil and low-salt soy sauce and mix well.

Chop some scallions and sprinkle them over the top. Serve immediately. 

Cook a Better Burger:
It is not especially difficult to make a solid burger. Choose a high-quality meat, like ostrich, bison or lean beef (you want 95% or better), and season it with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. That's about it. Put a little olive oil in the pan, form a patty and make a little well in the center of the meat. Once the pan is hot, throw it in.

The trick here is only flipping the burger once. Wait until the bottom side develops a slight crust or char. You'll see the brown rise up the meat. When it nearly reaches the halfway point of the patty, flip it over but do not press down. Lower the heat, and cover the pan. Take small pieces of ice and place them next to the burger before you cover it - the ice will melt, produce steam, and that will cook the meat from the inside without giving you a burger that's overdone. Give it 2-3 minutes, tops.

Serve it with mustard on a whole grain roll, with sliced onions and pickles. Trust me.

Roast Your Veggies
On a 1-10 difficulty scale, this is a one. It's that simple. Take whatever is seasonal or available, like brussel sprouts, squash or asparagus. Cut them into small pieces. Arrange them on a baking sheet, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Then bake them for about 350 degrees. When there's some color on the outside of the pieces, lower the heat a little and let them cook through.

Instant delicious and healthy side dish, without opening a box or a can.

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